Netflix’s Black Mirror is a futuristic action packed series that highlights how certain technologies can affect our every day lives. Whether it’s as simple as having ratings for each person, or as complicated as copying someone’s consciousness and turning them into personal assistants, Black Mirror will both terrify and intrigue you. What may surprise you even more, is how many of the technologies described in episodes of Black Mirror actually exist today. If you haven’t seen the series, this article will include spoilers – Spoiler Alert!
#3 Social Rating System
The third season’s episode “Nosedive” showcases the impact a social rating system can have on individuals. Using implants in their eyes, everybody around the world can rate their interactions with others out of a total of 5 stars. One’s rank is public for anybody to see as they go about their daily lives. The higher your rank the more opportunities you get. For example, if you have a 4.5 rating you get a discount on a luxury apartment.
Something very similar is already happening in China. It’s called a “social credit system” and is meant to rank China’s citizens based on their behavior. The program was first introduced back in 2014 and is planned to be fully operational by 2020. The specifics regarding what actions increase or decrease one’s score are secret, but what’s more concerning is the kind of acts that can decrease one’s rating.
For example, buying too many video games and trolling online will decrease one’s social score which can in turn land someone in trouble. Furthermore, one can be banned from riding the train, get your pets taken away, and be restricted from luxury hotels and certain jobs if the social rank gets too low. Quite a scary program that is guaranteed to spark controversy.
#2 Soldier Brain Implants
In an episode titled “Men Against Fire” soldiers’ brains are implanted with something called MASS. The implant enhances senses and augments one’s reality. It provides real time data about missions and alters the way enemies look. It makes targets look like evil monsters rather than like normal humans, essentially “dehumanizing” the enemy.
While there are no implants that can alter one’s perception of reality as of right now, efforts are underway to potentially upload data directly to soldiers’ brains – yes, kind of like the Matrix.
Express reports that the US military will spend roughly $65 million on R&D about creating brain implants for soldiers to hopefully some day create so called “super soldiers”. The research will be done by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that will try to create ways to interpret signals in the brain.
While brain implants like MASS are still a long ways away, it is interesting to see that the US army is spending millions of dollars in research toward this technology. There are plenty of roadblocks that need to be overcome before such a technology can be used, but it is only a matter of time before such an implant will exist.
#1 Robot Dogs
The episode titled “Metalhead” depicts a post-apocalyptic scenario where robotic guard dogs are in control. The robots are fully autonomous and are able to track targets and recharge themselves. They are also extremely fast and can outrun a car.
While fully autonomous robot dogs do not exist – yet – Boston Dynamics has a variety of robot dogs. One of their first creations is an extremely agile and durable robot called BigDog. It’s around 3 feet in height weighs in at over 220 lbs. It has a variety of sensors and is able to navigate a wide range of terrains.
However, BigDog lacks in speed and can only trot at around 3 miles per hour. This is where the Cheetah Robot comes into play, this robot dog can reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour, slightly faster than Usain Bolt. There is definitely no outrunning the Cheetah Robot.